University of Bergen


Kvinner, IranUndergraduate
Teaching on Middle Eastern topics at Bergen is focused on the Bachelor programme in Middle Eastern Studies. This is a three-year program with specializations in History, Religion, Anthropology, Archaeology and Arabic language.

Faculties vary in the number and size of courses they offer, calculated according to the European ESTC point system (60 points a year). The Social Science faculty divides the study year into six 10-point courses, while the Arts faculty is based on four slightly larger 15-point courses per year, two or three taken in parallel over each half-year term with exams at the end of term only. Courses may be taken individually, in year units, or as part of bachelor programmes, which are either departmental and linked to a specific subject; or inter-departmental, such as the Middle East programme.

Bachelor in Middle Eastern Studies
The Middle East bachelor program was initiated in 2002, and quickly become the largest of the faculty's inter-departmental bachelor programs, with about 50 students admitted to the complete bachelor annually, and several hundred taking the various open courses it contains individually.

One year's study, taken by all programme students in commen, gives basic overview courses in Middle East history, in the culture and society of the Middle East (the longue durée, a joint course between Archaeology, History of Religion and Anthropology), and a basic course in Arabic language.

Then the students choose a speciality, or 'major' within the program among the five participating subjects mentioned. Each of these majors consist of basic methodology and comparative overview within the subject if applicable (thus in e.g. Anthropology and Religion), and courses in the Middle Eastern aspects, such as Modern History of the Middle East, The Social impact of Sufism and Islamic Law; Islam in Africa, Women in Middle Eastern History, Religion and Politics: Islam, Cultural contact in the pre-history and early history of the Middle East, etc. The program is summed up in a half-term course where students write a longer term paper.

Students will also be encouraged to go abroad for exchange with other European partners, or to the Middle East. The courses are today all taught in Norwegian, but are otherwise open for students coming from abroad. All courses, except for Arabic (for reason of teaching resources) are also open to students outside the program, and most of them also function as optionals or specializations within the regular subject majors.

General information about the University of Bergen
Information for prospective students
See separate page on foreign students.
For a survey of current modules and teaching, see the "Bachelor i Midtausten-studiar" page. (in Norwegian)


Master's degree
The master programmes, which are all subject-related, are focused around a master's thesis of original research at about 100-150 pages. (Until 2005, the master's was called a "Main topic ("Hovudfag")" thesis, a term still used in some of the surveys at this site. A specific degree for foreign students taught in English was called the M.Phil.)

The master's degree includes course work, and is structured into the established subjects, thus there is currently no particular Master in Middle Eastern studies. Instead, bachelors from the program will proceed to a master in the subject they chose as their major at the bachelor level.

There may, however, be specific Middle East-related seminars within each department, and the History department has a weekly Middle East master's seminar, taught in English. The master is a two year's study programme.

Doctoral studies
Doctoral studies is also always linked to a subject department. Most doctoral students are also research fellows, and financed through a national or local scholarship competition. Ph.D. students follow a regular teaching program, in addition to their research works.

In addition to the Ph.D., there is also an older doctorate, the dr. philos. Equivalent in status and extent of thesis (and thus not a habilitation to be taken after a Ph.D.), the dr. philos. differs in that it is not based on a teaching program or supervision, but is a work perpared independently by the candidate and presented to the university for approval. Almost all candidates take the newer Ph.D., to which all research fellowships are linked.

Admission to Ph.D. studies is thus to each subject department, and while students may be admitted without an accompanying scholarship, the two are almost always linked, as there is no alternate funding for Ph.D. studies. Thus, all master programs may lead to a Ph.D., subject to success in the competition for fellowships.


Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (SMI)
Phone + 47 55 58 26 47, fax + 47 55 58 98 91, e-mail: post@smi.uib.no
Postal address: SMI, University of Bergen. PO Box 7800 Bergen, Norway
Visiting address: SMI, 5th floor , Stein Rokkans Hus, Nygårdsgaten 5, 5015 Bergen